Auto Shows of North America (ASNA) is a committee of Automotive Trade Association Executives. The Mission of ASNA is to be the industry resource for auto show information and education, and to provide a network for communication between show executives, manufacturers, other industry affiliates and media.
New home for the New England International Auto ShowThe Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) has signed a three-year contract to have the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, one of three MCAA facilities, host the New England International Auto Show beginning this fall. The auto show is the second consumer show to be confirmed for the BCEC. Pictured are, left to right, David L. Williams, executive vice president of the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association (MSADA); Jim Rooney, executive director of the MCCA; Dana Goodfield, president of the MSADA; and Garry Edgar from Paragon Group, which produces the auto show. The auto show was previously housed at the Bayside Expo Center.
ASNA Summer Meeting slated for July 10-11Auto Shows of North America (ASNA), a focus group of the Automotive Trade Association Executives (ATAE) is once again convening its Summer Meeting, this time at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club in Jacksonville, Fl.
“This is a unique opportunity to continue to share the best benefit from the interaction we all need from time-to-time,” says Jennifer Lindsey, executive director of ATAE. “In past years, those who’ve taken the time to be at these meetings have attested to the value they deliver. This year promises to be even better.”
Registration information has already gone out to the ASNA community along with a survey suggesting specific meeting topics to be discussed.
“We very much want this to be a day of high value for those who attend,” adds Lindsey. “As such, we welcome any comments and input our ASNA friends may have.”
Specific questions should be directed to Lindsey or the members of the 2007 ASNA Focus Group steering committee: Candida Romanelli, New York International Auto Show; Jerry Cizek, Chicago Auto Show; Shayne Wilson, Atlanta Journal-Constitution Auto Show; and Craig Bickmore, Utah International Auto Expo.
Opportunities for sponsorship still exist. Those interested should contact Lindsey directly, by e-mail or phone: (703) 821-7072.
Toyota won’t add many more U.S. dealersEven as sales of Toyota products continue to grow, the automaker’s head of U.S. operations has indicated that doesn’t mean many more dealers. Jim Press is quoted by Automotive News as saying he doesn’t want to dilute the investment of existing dealers. Toyota, he said, wants dealers to be profitable so they can spend money on customer service and store upgrades. Press said adding more Toyota and Lexus dealerships would encourage price-cutting competition among dealers within the brand. Sales per dealership have grown roughly at the same pace as overall Toyota sales.
San Diego underscores 'Stars are the Cars' theme with unique giveawayWith its first year as a self-produced show under its belt, organizers of the San Diego International Auto Show found a different if not unique way to thank participating manufacturers and vendors—their own piece of the universe in the form of a star. Show management purchased about 100 “points of light” from Star Registry International and sent the certificate. The response? “Unbelievably positive,” says Kevin Leap, show director. “People certainly appreciated the gesture and it had the double effect of our being able to tie in our trademarked ‘Where the Cars are the Stars’ theme to the show.”
Comings and Goings in the auto show communityBarry Toepke, a mainstay for many years at both the LA Auto Show and the Houston Auto Show, has left his position as director of communications. A replacement has not yet been named. Toepke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ray Day, Ford Motor Company’s head of public affairs for global automotive operations, is being promoted to replace Jon Pepper, who is leaving the company to head communications for Hess Corp., an energy firm.
Sally Eastwood has left her position as vice president of marketing for Land Rover North America. She will be replaced by Finbar McFall, who previously was head of global marketing for the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport product lines.
Michael Accavitti has been named director of Dodge Brand & SRT Marketing and Communications. Accavitti was earlier director of Motorsports Programs and SRT Product & Brand Marketing.
Atlanta: Busy line-up included live wrestling, strong media supportThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution International Auto Show used the occasion of its 25th anniversary to continue and build on its tradition of providing more great vehicles, industry displays, attractions and media support than ever before.
Area press representatives were the first to see the completed show during the event’s “Media First Look” on Friday, March 9. The event’s annual charity preview party, “A Night of Cars & Stars,” attracted over 1,000 people. All tickets sold benefited Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and the “When Everyone Survives", a foundation dedicated to Leukemia research.
Wilson started the official opening ceremony by introducing Georgia’s new Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, who welcomed all attendees to the show. Cagle was followed by MAADA Chairman, Randy Morris of the Courtesy Automotive Group. Morris spoke about the growth of the Atlanta show during the past quarter century, acknowledging many of those who were instrumental in its success.
Among the celebrities who appeared at the show were Atlanta Falcon stars DeAngelo Hall and D.J. Shockley, courtesy of the Ford Motor Company, and NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer, who signed autographs in the Chevrolet exhibit for attendees. Spider-Man appeared at the show on the opening weekend for the second straight year. Wolverine of X-Men fame and Scooby-Doo made the rounds during the final weekend.
The GM Experience gave show goers the opportunity to test drive 20 different vehicles, including the Buick Lucerne, Cadillac CTS, Hummer H3 and Saturn Sky. Meanwhile, the Chrysler Mobile Marketing Tour, which featured video games, film shorts and interactive displays, also offered Atlanta participants the chance to test drive the new Sebring Convertible and Aspen.
The Atlanta Auto Show once again hosted a special day for Metro Atlanta area for more than 400 automotive technician students and their instructors.
The show’s title sponsor, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, gave the show a wealth of advertising and coverage, including the production of the annual show guide, which was distributed in over 350,000 newspapers as the show prepared to open. The paper also provided 22 pages of show advertising, plus set up banner advertising on ajc.com and ajccars.com.
Radio and television participation was the best ever, says Wilson, with live remotes and appearances from several local stations, including a 30-minute special on WSB-TV which aired twice. Another station, CW Atlanta, featured two live AutoScoop one hour show remotes, and WAGA-TV promoted the event on Good Day Atlanta.
The show’s own Website www.ajcautoshow.com received nearly 51,000 visits from March 1-19.
Calgary: Cramped for space in oil-rich boomtownJack Thompson, who organizes the auto show in Calgary, one of Canada’s western cities in a province rich with petroleum resources, says a vibrant economy is helping to drive auto sales and, by extension, interest in the Calgary Auto Show.
“We have a very healthy, very strong economy,” says Thompson. “It’s reflected in dealership activities, no question about it.”
Still, the auto show gives a shot in the arm to dealerships, with the mid-March event signaling the spring selling season. And consumers walking in the doors to the Roundup Centre & Corral Stampede Park weren’t disappointed.
Even though the Calgary show may not be as large as other Canadian shows such as Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver, the event “has a significant place in the marketplace here,” says Thompson, likely a reflection of the booming economy.
Manufacturers, as a result, tend to want to put their best foot forward when it comes to showcasing product. And that, in turn, drives attendance.
Even before the show begins, organizers put on a charity preview, raising in excess of $250,000 Canadian for charities in the region, this year being the Missing Children Society of Canada.
Since “Vehicles and Violins” began eight years ago, nearly $1.5 million has been earmarked for various charities, the result of ticket sales and a silent auction at the event.
Among vehicles standing out at the show itself were Chevrolet’s Camaro and Ford’s Super Chief truck, popular in a region where pick-ups are a popular mode of transportation.
Thompson says the future of the show is looking bright, even as the need for exhibit space continues to be something of an issue. “We have an expansion approved for one more hall, which will take us to 300,000 square feet, but that’s a couple of years away. We could use that space now.”
Dallas: More concepts, great displays make for strong showAs important as those annual auto show dates can be, there are times when other long-standing events can impact attendance. The Dallas show, which was affected last year thanks to a rally and march in support of immigrant workers, suffered again with the cancellation of the downtown St. Patrick’s Day parade.
There were also more concept cars at the show than McKinley might have otherwise expected, given the show’s March dates (it will move to early April in 2008). “This year we were up against several other shows, but still did well” she adds.
An ongoing feature, now in its third year, was the show’s Law Enforcement Day, an event that the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education offers continuing education credits for attendees. At the event, which is sponsored by Ford, law enforcement officers are able to spend time examining various spots where vehicle identification numbers are positioned plus get additional training from manufacturers.
“We’re very proud of the program,” says McKinley, who says response is universally positive. “We have many, many comments from officers who are extremely grateful to have the opportunity to attend.”
The tie-in to auto dealers is the ongoing need for employees who are highly literate.
Among the vehicles being showcased were the Ford Interceptor and Airstream Crossover concepts; the Lincoln MKR concept; the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible and Volt concepts; the Chrysler Akino concept; the Suzuki Flix concept; the 2008 Cadillac CTS; the 2008 Audi R8 and TT Roadster; the 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer; and the 2008 Nissan Titan.
Another highlight was a selection of “high end” vehicles that included a $300,000 Spyker (a new exhibitor) as well as vehicles from Aston-Martin, Maserati and Bentley.
Dallas was also host to the popular Toyota On Site Off Road Adventure, which occupied a prime position in front of the only entrance to the show. Toyota also brought its Highway to the Future Mobile Hybrid Experience, a trailer that’s finding its way across the continent.
Denver: Attendance steady, emphasis on green draws interestDenver may be known as the “Mile High City” but it’s also one where environmental concerns have tended to be front and center.
“It’s something the public is demanding,” says Bill Barrow, who continues to produce the show even after retiring from the head of the Colorado Auto Dealers Association. “The strong interest in alternative fuels meant we were able to bring in a number of vehicles, including hydrogen cell vehicles and various hybrids. It made a pretty good show.”
Even though one of the show’s featured vehicles might arguably be less than green (CNN’s Warrior One Hummer), the Denver Auto Show was the launch-off point for the “RE/MAX Tour for the Troops.”
The vehicle, once home for CNN troops embedded with U.S. forces in Iraq, is now a military tribute vehicle raising money for wounded soldiers. The refurbished Hummer was auctioned off by CNN with RE/MAX Chairman and Founder Dave Liniger making the winning bid of $1 million.
A new exhibit – Safely There – by Continental Automotive Systems, which makes components such as anti-lock brakes and roll-over avoidance for SUVs, was another key part of the Denver show. The company’s exhibit allowed visitors to simulate crash situations as well as learn how to avoid accidents using advanced technology.
Toyota brought its Highway to the Future Mobile Hybrid Experience, featuring a display of how alternative fuels work and how they can help the environment. A “Prius Driving Experience” simulated the company’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology.
Barrow says marketing the auto show has taken on a new emphasis as of late, with broadcast seemingly taking on a larger role.
“Radio has become a bigger deal,” he says, noting that dealers, too, are buying less print ad space as readership decreases. “It’s lowered our expense as well when it comes to remote broadcasts at the show.”
Barrow says the overall result was attendance figures that held their own over 2006. “We were almost dead on with what we did last year.”
Fort Worth: Area show continues to set itself apartIt may be nearby the larger Dallas Auto Show, but organizers of the Greater Tarrant County Auto Show say the event is unique in its appeal to Fort Worth area automotive consumers.
“We are distinctive,” says Moore.
This year, the 52nd annual event, once again included a display from the Texas Driving Experience, one of the area’s popular attractions. TDE gives participants the opportunity to drive a Corvette Z06 race car on the track of the Texas Motor Speedway.
The Greater Tarrant County Auto Show continued to use its space at the Fort Worth Convention Center to promote dealer careers, including the automotive technician program at Tarrant County College.
“Manufacturers continue to support those displays,” says Moore. “We had more than 300 vehicles on hand and people who came to the show to see what was new and different were pleased with what they saw.”
Those vehicles included a wide variety of hybrid vehicles, something Moore says is increasingly popular, as it is in other shows.
“People are much more concerned these days with energy savings.”
Toronto: Focus is on consumers, and diversityTom Tonks knows exactly where his organization’s Canadian International Auto Show fits when it comes to other events throughout North America and the world.
And while there’s the inevitable comparison to the Motor City, located just four hours away by car, Tonks holds his head high. “Certainly, Detroit is the best media event in the world. But no one does a better job of running a consumer show.”
While a sold-out preview event was well attended, the dealers group doesn’t link ticket sales to charitable giving, opting instead to donate a portion of overall show profits to its charitable foundation.
Toronto’s distinctive multicultural makeup, which includes a significant number of people with Asian roots, contributed to a slight dip in attendance, the first weekend coinciding with Chinese New Year.
“It was a rough start,” says Tonks. “But while those who celebrate Chinese New Year stayed away early, they came back in droves after that weekend.”
Marketing to various ethnic populations includes advertising in virtually every newspaper serving various international cultures, among them Italian, German, Portuguese, Indian and others. “We’re also on the air, since most have their own radio shows as well,” says Tonks.
Inside the three-venue event, multilingual product specialists are more the norm than the exception, again helping satisfy consumer interest in vehicles being showcased.
The Toronto show, sanctioned every other year by the Organisation Internationale des Constructeurs d'Automobiles, ran as part of this year’s OICA status an automotive design contest, dedicating some 6,000 square feet of space to displaying work from some 19 worldwide design schools.
It also dovetailed nicely with an ongoing initiative by the dealers organization, a career area that creates awareness in working in the industry at the retail level. Some six area academic institutions, plus Toyota Canada, host exhibits as part of the Career Academy.
Other show features included a Classics Concours, which included Cruise Nationals, now in its third year. Under the program, finalists selected at the summer-end Canadian National Exhibition from among 60 sanctioned regional cruises compete for three top prizes at the auto show. The Concours also featured a history of the Studebaker Corporation and a display of performance cars entitled “Pony Fever.”
Tonks says a good selection of concept cars and some 31 Canadian exclusive vehicle debuts helped solidify a reputation for being a significant spot on the auto show calendar.
Auto Shows of North America Show DirectoryAlbany
Albany Auto Show
11/3/2017 - 11/5/2017
Salt Lake City
Credits/Contacts:Automotive Trade Association Executives
8400 Westpark Drive
McLean, VA 22102
703.556.8581 - fax
Denise Brennan, ATAE Chairman
Jennifer Lindsey, ATAE Executive Director
The Auto Show Report
J.D. Booth, editor